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05 December 2013

SC wants life sentence for milk-tampering
The SC has asked state governments to make laws that punish with life in prison the selling and production of adulterated milk injurious to humans [TOI]

Kalam faces faulty voting machine
Former president APJ Abdul Kalam was yesterday temporarily among the large number of Delhi voters who could not exercise their right to vote locally due to malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVM). Kalam waited, went back home without voting, then came back to vote once the fault was corrected [Outlook]

Linklaters breaks strict associate lockstep
UK magic circle law firm Linklaters has introduced a merit-based discretionary pay element to its associate lockstep for the first time, to reward associates above two years of PQE, departing from the previous system of “strict ladder according to PQE” plus year-end bonus [The Lawyer]

Tejpal should pay Rs 25 lakh for wasteful Delhi bail application
Tehelka founding editor and rape accused Tarun Tejpal should be awarded exemplary costs of Rs 25 lakh – which should then be donated to the legal aid cell – for wasting the Delhi HC’s time with his anticipatory bail application, argues senior advocate and former additional solicitor general of India KN Bhat. Bhat says that Rs 25 lakh is equivalent to the amount of funds the court ended up wasting on the two days it entertained the application [Asian Age]

Sexual violence in India higher than US or under-reported?
Global statistics state that a woman is sexually abused in India every twenty minutes and that one in every six women experiences sexual violence in the US is an example of under-reporting, say experts [TOI]

03 December 2013

Nokia $1bn tax settlement rejected
Nokia faces tax liabilities as its offer to settle Rs 6,500 crore liability with Rs 2,250 crore has been rejected by the tax department [NDTV Profit]

Delhi ‘11 HC blast accused claims wrongfully charged
The accused in the September 2011 Delhi HC blasts asked the HC to set aside a trial court order cancelling his bail, and has alleged that the National Investigation Agency wrongfully implicated him for the offence of waging war based on a vague FIR [PTI]

Dec 16 rape convicts say Hindi judgment illegible
Two of the four accused asked the Delhi HC for time to approach the SC claiming that the Hindi translation of the trial court’s judgement against them and its trial records were not legible. The Delhi HC is hearing the reference from the Saket court to confirm their death sentence [PTI]

Mumbai mobile traffic court on fast track
The Mumbai police’s proposal to start five mobile courts in the city to clamp down on traffic offenders is on the fast track after the chief metropolitan magistrate forwarded it to the Bombay HC’s chief justice for approval [Free Press Journal]

National Lok Adalat reduced case load by 7.1m
Between November 23 and 25 India’s case pendency score reduced by 71.5 lakh through the National Lok Adalat, which setlled 20.81 lakh pre litigation matters and 5.22 lakh traffic challans [PTI]

Delhi HC midweek-weekend
The general elections tomorrow have given the Delhi HC and lower courts a mid week break tomorrow. A new schedule has already been fixed to hear cases scheduled for the day; next Saturday is a working day for the lower courts [Notification]

02 December 2013

A permanent office for the 11 year old IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board) is now finally in the works in Kovalam, near Chennai, as the state has also invited applications to fill up its vacancies – after pressure from advocates pointing out its mounting workload [Business Standard]

Judges should introspect to keep fit, principles reduce rape in India: Karnataka HC judge AS Pachhapure said “for hours together the judges sit and also be at home, hence it is always better to have proper excise [sic], meditation and spirituality to keep themselves fit”. The HC’s judge L Narayanaswamy said that India has less than 25 per cent the number of America’s rape cases, despite a bigger population “because of our principles” [TOI]

Bench-bar tiffs shouldn’t amount to contempt of court, said UP advocate general Vinay Kumar Mishra in his felicitation address, adding that the bar and the bench are complementary to each other [TOI]

Corporate HR heads are working overtime to sensitise male employees about what is borderline behaviour causing discomfort to women colleagues and may cause the men to end up “unfairly maligned” [TOI]

‘False promise rape’ complaints on the rise: Touching and tragic portrait of family opposed to love marriage, unwanted pregnancy and a rape complaint resulting in marriage [WSJ] as part of a bigger examination of the rape complaints made by women hoping to avoid single parenthood under the ‘broken promise to marry’ doctrine [WSJ]

Nalsar reservations to split between AP / Telangana: Nalsar Hyderabad’s 16 reserved seats, out of a total of 68 LLB seats per batch, will be distributed equally between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana domiciled students post bifurcation of the state [Deccan Chronicle]

TN Lok Adalat settles Rs 1,000 crore: In Tamil Nadu’s Lok Adalat, part of the recent massive National Lok Adalat, more than 13 lakh cases were resolved and Rs 1,041 crores settled [PTI]

Delhi gang rape parents ask SC to try juvenile: The parents of the December 2012 Delhi rape victim have asked the Supreme Court for the 17-year-old accused’s fresh trial in an ordinary criminal court, challenging proceedings against him before the Juvenile Justice Board [TOI]

Madurai judges lost case documents and now have to show cause to the Madras high court. The judges include Madurai’s principal district judge and a few other judicial officers [TOI]

Pick and choose, said the Madras high court while lambasting the state government for contesting all and sundry cases that come to it instead of choosing the deserving ones [Zee News]

05 November 2013

Lawyer myths: NLSIU Bangalore grad and Singapore’s Nanyang Tech B-school lecturer Krishna Udayasankar has penned down a mythological trilogy – the Aryavarta Chronicles. Interview by [Bangalore Mirror]

TOI didn’t defame: The Times of India is off the hook for criminal defamation after the Madras HC dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s case against the paper for a 28 March news item exposing an irregular public auction. “The court taking cognizance of a complaint against the press must follow due diligence. Before taking a prima facie view, the news item should be analysed and an attempt should be made at least to indicate the basic reasons, which would attract the offence of defamation and as to whether the news item made a reference to the government or minister with an intention to defame or tarnish the image,” said the HC judge [TOI]

SC Tarun Chatterjee to UP HRC: Former Supreme Court justice Tarun Chatterjee has been appointed as the UP state human rights commission’s chairman [Jagran Post]

Dec 16 rape confirmation: The Delhi HC has begun confirmation hearings for the death sentence reference by the Saket trial court in the 16 December Delhi gang rape case [PTI]

Law school paycheques: ET reports breathlessly that national law schools have broken the business consultancy glass ceiling with Bain Capital creating its first legal position after hiring from NLSIU Bangalore this year – also the campus from where McKinsey and Deutsche Bank have made an offer each so far. At Nalsar Hyderabad, between 25 2014 graduates hired so far the average salary is, reportedly, Rs 14.5 lakh per annum, while the highest international pay package is 40,000 pounds. The average salary at NUJS Kolkata is Rs 9 lakh per annum – marginally up from last year

30 September 2013

The Delhi bar council complaint against the December 16 rape convicts’ lawyer AP Singh was transferred to the BCI, which on Saturday issued a show-cause notice to Singh, reported the Hindu.

Singh had made sexist remarks to the media outside the Saket trial court that had convicted his clients, claiming that he would burn his daughter alive were she to be found having premarital sex or going out at night with a boyfriend. He later claimed that he was provoked into his remarks.

The BCI is examining whether his comments can attract the charge of “professional misconduct” under Section 35 of the Advocates Act.

13 September 2013

The four men convicted in the 16 December Delhi gang rape case have been handed the death sentence at 2:30PM today for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student. They were also handed the maximum sentence under every section of the Indian Penal Code they were convicted under, reported the Firstpost which was maintaining a live blog of today’s sentencing.

The Indian judiciary on an average hands down 130 death sentences per year, but India has executed only three people in the last 17 years, according to Reuters which added that India voted against the UN resolution calling for the abolition of the capital punishment last year.

Whether today’s death sentence will reach the execution stage will be determined by at least a high court division bench that would have to confirm the sentence. This is because the Saket district court – a trial court – has handed down the death sentence today. If the convicts’ lawyers appeal the sentence, such appeal would be combined with the reference to the high court which will re-evaluate the evidence and re-assess the conclusions of the trial court.

Many criminal lawyers said death references are given priority by high courts particularly for highly publicised cases, which are also heard day-to-day, rather than with long adjournments, according to the WSJ.

Update: The order and the judge’s reasoning.{jcomments lock}

10 September 2013

Delhi gang rapists guilty: Four men were convicted of raping and killing a woman in December 2012 by Judge Yogesh Khanna in Saket’s district court. The sentencing arguments – anticipated to be for the death penalty – will begin tomorrow.

The men’s lawyer AP Singh said they would appeal the verdict [The Guardian / Firstpost]

05 July 2013

Due indiligence: GLC Mumbai and New College Mumbai students could miss the 25 July Bar Exam because their law schools have not yet paid the Bar Council of India affiliation fee. GLC fixing problem at the moment… [Mumbai Mirror / Bar & Bench]

Judicial eviction: According to SC guidelines framed today, judges (and other high officials) will have to vacate their government accommodations within a month, or at most two months, from their retirement or they will be evicted with three months’ notice. They are also not allowed to leave behind “memorials” constructed on the accommodation premises [PTI]

Smart bars: The Kerala High Court Advocates Association has released an Android App called Kerala High Court Case Status. The application displays the court status of all the courts inside the Kerala HC on smart phones [Live Law/App]

Cash-for-judges scam proceeds: The SC has given the trial court a go-ahead to prosecute former Punjab & Haryana high court judge Nirmal Yadav in the cash-at-judges-door scam. Rs 15 lakh were delivered at the residence of P&H HC Justice Nirmaljit Kaur on 13 August 13 2008, following which she reported the matter to the Chandigarh Police. The money, allegedly meant for Yadav, was said to have been delivered to Kaur due to confusion over their names [Zee News]

NLSIU rape trial: The 13 October NLSIU Bangalore student’s rape will now be tried in-camera, every day, with 44 witnesses to be examined. The victim has discontinued her education at the law school and returned to her hometown [NIE]

Fresh bucks: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has posted revenue increase of 7.2 per cent since last year to £1.221bn – the largest rise among all UK Magic Circle firms where revenues were stagnant [The Lawyer]

04 July 2013

India sides with Obama: Salman Khursheed, former law minister, defends US spies’ electronic snooping, saying it’s not “snooping” and “only computer analysis of patterns of calls and e-mails sent”. Minister gets slammed by rivals [Hindu]

Niche education: Law colleges have increasingly started offering ‘niche courses’ such as nuclear, space, business, cyber crime and other laws, reports [Business Standard]

Rape trial access: Foreign correspondents petition Delhi high court to cover Delhi gang rape trial day-to-day [Deccan Chronicle]

Destressed Nalsar: An Andhra Pradesh HC bench told the University Grants Commission (UGC) to examine proposals made by Nalsar Hyderabad’s nine-member committee to reduce stress and suicides of students [New Indian Express]

Dominant ratings: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is to probe whether TV rating agency TAM Media Research has abused its dominant position [Times of India]

Bombay in Tamil: Bombay HC allows litigant, who doesn’t speak Hindi, to depose in Tamil [Business Standard]

Rape compensation PIL: Bombay HC to hear PIL proposing to set up fund to compensate victims of sexual violence [Times of India]

Judges’ busy hols: Delhi high court rejects PIL asking for a reduction in judges’ holidays, arguing that “most judges spend a substantial part of vacation time in writing the judgments” [WSJ] A similar petition was also filed in Chennai in May

Pro-India DOMA: The US’ pro-gay-rights Supreme Court verdict may be a boon for Indian jurisprudence [Mint]

13 June 2013

The 21-year old NLSIU Bangalore student who was allegedly raped near the law school’s campus by eight men in October has discontinued her studies at NLSIU and returned to her native city, according to the New Indian Express.

Dr H Chandrashekar, the Bangalore Medical College’s head of department of psychiatry, was treating her. He told the paper that she had very severe trauma and post traumatic stress disorder and could also have been “under pressure from parents or peers to discontinue and go back”.

The paper also reported that Judge K B Sangannanavar at the Additional City Civil & Sessions Court has begun trying the six accused — Ramu, Doddairayya, Shivanna, Maddura, Yeleyayya and Irayya of Ramangaram and Mattaradodigudda on Wednesday, exactly six months after the incident. The trial of the juvenile also started at the Juvenile Justice Court on June 6.

22 March 2013

Anti-rape law passed Rajya Sabha in only two hours with promises to remove loopholes later: Rape remains gender specific crime, age of consent remains 18, death sentences in some cases & more [Hindu on bill’s passage / TOI on substance of law]

Italy has promised to return its two marines, who were accused of killing two Indian fishermen but absconded despite the Italian ambassador’s contrary promise to the Supreme Court of India. Indian law minister Ashwani Kumar claimed that the Italians’ decision “vindicated India's diplomacy” and promised that the “the Indian judiciary will render justice according to law to all, including the marines” [ZeeNews].

Lawyers react to Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt five year prison sentence for arms position reactions [TOI]; The lawyers involved: Farhana Shah, the “only female lawyer who represented many for free”, Majeed Memon, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and now Bombay high court judge Pramod Kode [TOI]

Andhra Pradesh government will challenge Supreme Court’s order that allowed SKS microfinance operating in the state [Livemint]

01 February 2013

Siddharth ChauhanBreaking & exclusive: NLSIU Bangalore faculty and alumnus Sidharth Chauhan was yesterday dismissed from service, little over a month after he wrote to vice-chancellor (VC) R Venkata Rao criticising his non-consultative manner of imposing a 9pm ban on opening the law school gates.

11 January 2013

Public interest litigation (PIL) activist lawyer ML Sharma, who is defending three of the six Delhi rape-accused in Delhi’s Saket district court, said in an interview that he had never heard of a “respected lady” being raped, and that the rape victim’s male companion was “wholly responsible” for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.

In an interview at a café outside the Supreme Court he said:

Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady.

Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect. [Bloomberg]

Sharma most recently filed a PIL against the government’s September notification allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. His other PILs this year include a dismissed petition for CBI probe into senior advocate Shanti Bhushan’s evasion of stamp duty, a PIL seeking cancellation of 194 coal-block allotments, and a challenge to the setting up of the Lokpal bill drafting committee, among others.

Last week the Saket Bar Association resolved that its 2500 members must not represent six Delhi men accused of the rape and murder of a 23-year old on 16 December, on the grounds of immorality. The fast track court for the trial was inaugurated 10 days ago.

08 January 2013

Lawyers offering to defend the five accused in the December Delhi gang rape case, who will stand trial in a special Saket fast-track court, faced heckles from other lawyers in court yesterday, which is considering making the proceedings private.

The New York Times wrote: “Tens of lawyers, many of them female, had gathered in the court to oppose a handful of lawyers who were offering to represent the accused. Calling the accused men ‘beasts,’ many lawyers argued that those who commit crimes with brutality don’t deserve to be represented, especially by private lawyers. Scuffles broke out between the two groups, adding to the commotion.”

Firstpost added more background on the judge’s 2pm order, which is contested by media houses lawyers, to make the hearings in camera:

The order was passed by the judge in the post-lunch session after a ruckus set off by an emotionally-charged group of lawyers prevented the scheduled appearance of the five accused at 12.30 pm in open court.

The commotion began when a lawyer began a tirade against another lawyer M L Sharma who said he was approached by the family of one of the accused to represent them. He was also shouted at by women lawyers who had gathered in the courtroom.

Appeals by the Delhi Police refused to calm the lawyers down and the commotion continued even after the judge arrived at 12.30 pm.

The judge’s warning that she would not call the accused to appear before the court till the lawyers cleared the way for the accused went unheeded to. Meanwhile, two lawyers told the judge that they wanted to represent the accused and were directed by her to first meet the accused in Tihar Jail and get their consent before approaching the court again.

Also read: ‘Immoral’ for lawyers to represent rape accused say Saket advocates

02 January 2013

rape-justice The Saket Bar Association has resolved that its 2,500 members must not represent the six Delhi men accused of the rape and murder in order to ensure “speedy justice”, as the court’s fast-track court that will hear the case will be inaugurated today.